Why Is Ultrasound Used So Frequently in Obstetrics?

Ultrasound or sonography is a technique which produces images using sound waves. The soundwaves produced by an ultrasound machine bounce off tissue and bone to create an image. So why is ultrasound used so frequently in obstetrics? This image allows the doctor, sonographer, or obstetrician to monitor the health of a woman and her growing fetus. Ultrasound isn’t only for pregnant women, though, it is used for numerous medical reasons to help doctors identify various conditions.

Ultrasound During Pregnancy

Throughout her pregnancy, a woman will have several ultrasound consultations. During these appointments, the doctor will look for all manner of things to assess the health of the mother and fetus. These sessions are critical for the doctor to ensure the welfare of the mother and the baby are progressing well and that the fetus is growing as it should. Ultrasounds provide a window into the womb, and the mother gets to see her baby grow.

What doctors look for during ultrasound consultations:

Ultrasound is Safe

The primary reason ultrasounds are so widely used is that they are safe and non-invasive. To date, no adverse side effects for the mother or baby have been recorded from the use of ultrasound technology – and ultrasound has been in use since the 50s. Because ultrasound is exceptionally safe, it is used for pregnant women. Instead of the ionising radiation produced by CT scans and x-rays, ultrasound relies on high-frequency sound waves. Owing to its safety, ultrasound can be used regularly throughout the pregnancy.

What to Expect When Going for an Ultrasound

As mentioned, an ultrasound is non-invasive when conducted on the stomach. Sometimes, however, doctors will perform a transvaginal ultrasound if you see the fetus very early into the pregnancy. Before your ultrasound, the doctor will recommend you have something to drink so that you have a full bladder and that you eat something sugary, so the baby moves around during the scan. This will help the sonographer or doctor get a better picture of the baby. During the procedure, the doctor will cover your abdomen in a gel to help conduct the sound waves before dragging the transducer along your stomach.

Ultrasounds Can Help Diagnose Other Conditions

More than monitoring fetal growth, ultrasound is used to detect various other abnormalities. Doctors use ultrasound to search for ovarian cysts; ultrasound is non-invasive and safe.

Ultrasound scans are used frequently because they are a safe way to monitor the growth and development of the baby without exposing them or the mother to radiation or other invasive methods. They are relatively fast, and the mother gets to go home with an image of the baby.

OMNI Ultrasound & Gynaecological Care

Condous performs Advanced Endosurgery procedures for women needing intervention for pelvic masses, adnexal pathology, severe endometriosis or hysterectomy. He also runs ‘Hands on’ Live Sheep Laparoscopic Workshops for gynaecologists at Camden Veterinarian School.
Having completed an undergraduate degree with the University of Adelaide, he left Australia in 1993 and moved to London where he completed his training in Obstetrics and Gynaecology. From 2001 to 2003 Condous worked as a Senior Research Fellow at St George’s Hospital, London. At St George’s he set up the Acute Gynaecology Unit, the first in the United Kingdom. It was also during this time that he developed an interest in Early Pregnancy and especially the management of pregnancies of unknown location (PULs). Condous has developed many mathematical models for the prediction of outcome of PULs which have been featured in numerous peer review journals. In 2005, he returned to Australia where he completed his Laparoscopic Fellowship at the Centre for Advanced Reproductive Endosurgery, Royal North Shore, Sydney.

Condous was appointed as a Consultant Gynaecologist and Senior Lecturer at Nepean Hospital in 2006 and soon was made Associate Professor. In 2010, he was made Departmental Head of Obstetrics and Gynaecology at Nepean Hospital. He obtained the MRCOG in 1999 and was made FRANZCOG in 2005. In 2009, he was awarded his Doctorate in Medicine (MD), University of London, for his thesis entitled: “The management of pregnancies of unknown location and the development of new mathematical models to predict outcome”.

Condous has edited three books including the “Handbook of Early Pregnancy Care”, published over 100 papers in international journals and is internationally renowned for his work in Early Pregnancy. He is the Associate Editor for Gynaecologic Obstetric Investigation, which is a European based journal, as well as the Australasian Journal of Ultrasound in Medicine (AJUM). He is on the organising committee and is an invited speaker at the International Society of Ultrasound in Obstetrics and Gynaecology (ISUOG) Scientific meeting in Sydney 2013. His current research interests relate to the management of ectopic pregnancy, 1st trimester growth, PULs and miscarriage and the use of transvaginal ultrasound (in particular sonovaginography, to predict posterior compartment deep infiltrating rectovaginal endometriosis).Condous is also actively involved with post-graduate education including the annual running of the Early Pregnancy and Gynaecological Ultrasound Interactive Courses for Sonologists, Radiologists, Sonographers and Gynaecologists in Australia.